Mini challenge summary

Summary: Practical exercise using the citation management tool your selected.
1 hour

This is a learn-by-doing challenge where you are directed to produce and share an output demonstrating your knowledge in using your preferred citation management tool.

Start here

web resources

Stimulus resources

  • Zoterobib online bibliography tool.
  • APA online style resource published by the University of Canterbury
  • APA general concepts published by Thomas Nelson library.
  • Search for online help resources for the citation management tool you chose. The official website for your tool and Youtube are good places to start. The following videos provide a general overview of the functionality that most reference management tools support, but you will need to source help resource online for the specific tool you selected.

The following video is intended to provide an overview how citation management tools work rather than endorsing a particular product. You are free to use the citation management tool of your choice.



The purpose of this mini challenge is to use your preferred citation management tool to:

  • Add items to your library (both manually and automatically for websites that support the browser extensions for your preferred tool).
  • Review and edit bibliographic information for items in your library.
  • Organise your library using tags and folders.
  • Use your citation management tool to generate in-text citations and bibliographic reference list using the APA style.


  1. Select your citation management tool (see previous page).
  2. Download and install the software for your citation management tool (i.e. for learners who have selected a tool that provides a local database)
  3. Activate your online account and authorise your local version to synchronise with the cloud service assuming this feature is supported by your preferred tool.
  4. Download and activate your extension or bookmarklet for supported browsers. This feature can be used to populate your library with information derived from website pages located during your online searches. Consult the website of your selected tool to determine if your browser is supported. Remember, you may be able to install an open source browser if your current browser is not supported.
  5. Populate your library with the following resources to support your research topic.
    • Manual entry for a published book
    • Manual entry for a chapter within an edited book (note that the library record for a book section or chapter should must have separate fields for the author(s) and editor(s))
    • Automatic harvesting of bibliographic information for a journal article (if supported by a browser extension or bookmarklet by your preferred citation management tool).
    • Automatic harvesting of bibliographic information for a newspaper article (if supported by a browser extension or bookmarklet by your preferred citation management tool).
    • Automatic harvesting of a useful resource from the resource bank (Tip: Link through to the source website before harvesting the bibliographic information.)
  6. In each case, review that all relevant fields required for the bibliography have been completed correctly. Don’t rely on the accuracy of the automatic features as this is dependant on the metadata and adherence to open standards on the source website. Pay particular attention to punctuation and consistent use of capitalisation.
  7. If supported by your citation management tool, add descriptive tags. This will enhance searching of your library database.
  8. If appropriate, organise your resources using folders.

Support forum

If you have any questions relating to citation management software, please post these on the forum. (Before posting a question, search the forum to see if your question has already been answered.)

As an open learning community, please help your peers by posting answers to any support questions.


  1. Read How to write a good paragraph published by Ashford University.
  2. Draft a paragraph using your word processor on an issue relating to your research topic.
  3. You paragraph must contain:
    • A verbatim quotation extract from one of your sources
    • A paraphrased fact from one of your sources
  4. Use the features of your citation management software to integrate
    • the in-text reference for your quotation
    • the in-text reference for the paraphrased fact
    • the automatically generated reference list using the APA style.
  5. Consult the Quick APA guide to review your formatting.
  6. Generate a pdf version of your paragraph.
  7. Prepare a short blog post of about 150 words sharing your experiences in using citation management software. For example: What worked well?, Did you struggle with any of the instructions? Did you learn any new skills?
  8. Upload a copy of your pdf file to your blog site and create a hyperlink from your blog post to this file as evidence of this activity.
  9. Remember to add a category or tag for your post using the course code: LiDA101 (this is needed for harvesting the post of registered course blogs for the course feed.)